A Russian naval expedition has discovered five Arctic islands as climate change melts glaciers and reveals landforms previously hidden under ice.
Ranging in size from 900 to 54,500 square metres, the five tiny islands are located in the cove of Vize off the northeastern shore of Novaya Zemlya, which divides the Barents and Kara seas in the Arctic ocean, a defence ministry statement said.
Rather than planting the proverbial flag in the sand, members of the expedition built a cairn on one of the islands containing a note about their discovery, a compact disc with their photographs and a pennant commemorating the 100th anniversary of the northern fleet’s hydrographic service.
Then-student Marina Migunova first spotted the islands in 2016 while analysing satellite imagery for her final coursework at a naval university. But new geographic points are added to maps and other navigational documents only after specialists visit them and perform a topographic survey, the defence ministry said.
The islands were previously concealed under the Nansen glacier, also known as the Vylka, which is part of Europe’s largest ice cap covering much of Novaya Zemlya’s northern island.